As in many countries, poor rural infrastructure has been an impediment for Haiti’s economic development. Comprised of dirt and rocks, rains routinely make the roads impassable. The poor state of rural roads directly impacts the well-being of Haitians throughout the countryside as it inhibits access to schools, health centers, and sometimes prevents transportation of food from farmers to markets, devastating the already meager income of rural farmers. Only 10% of those living in rural Haiti have access to electricity and less than 8% have access to potable water.
To improve the lives of rural Haitians through sustainable development, USAID/Haiti has implemented road improvement projects that work with local engineering firms to perform the rehabilitation work while local municipalities will provide maintenance materials and permits. So far it has been a great success with transportation costs for farmers decreasing $5-$15 per potato crate because of a decrease in damaged crops.
“Reducing spoilage that results from poor roads has the potential for increasing gross farm income by between 10 and 30 percent, and contributes to greater food security. Improved roads can also increase school attendance and visits to health facilities.”- James Wooley, Senior Agronomist at USAID/Haiti
Announced earlier this year by President Obama prior to the G8 Summit at Camp David, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition kick-off workshop begins today in Ethiopia! THe program will be initiated August 29 in Ghana and September 6-7 in Tanzania. Led by host country governments, in conjunction with other African and G8 government officials, international donors, private sector partners and civil society groups, the initiative will help reduce poverty and under-nutrition through agriculture-led growth.
“The New Alliance strengthens ongoing global food security efforts and nutrition efforts by combining assistance with effective policies driven by African governments, increased private sector investment, a focus on managing risk and new tools to scale innovation. To date, over 45 multinational and African companies have committed to specific agricultural investments that total more than $3 billion and span all areas of the agricultural value chain, including irrigation, crop protection, financing and infrastructure.”- USAID Press Release
The UN’s “I Was Here” campaign for this year’s observance of World Humanitarian Day was a smashing success with over one billion people throughout the world pledging and/or sharing their humanitarian actions on the morning of August 19th. The commemoration of WHD was supported by pop superstar Beyonce Knowles who, along with songwriter Diane Warren, donated the song “I Was Here” to the campaign, releasing a music video displayed in cities throughout the world on Saturday the 18th.
“[WHD] aims to honor those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and those who continue to bring assistance and relief to millions, in addition to drawing attention to humanitarian needs worldwide and the importance of international cooperation in meeting those needs.”- UN News Center
Visit www.whd-iwashere.org to read more about the great success of World Humanitarian Day!
(Asmaa Wagulh: Reuters, file photo)
The Global Education Initiative, which was started in 2003 and has continuing operations in Jordan, Palestinian Territory, Egypt, and Rajesthan, announced it will begin operations in South Pacific island nation of East Timor. In line with the UN’s Millennium Development Goal #2 to achieve universal primary education, the Initiative’s mission is to see that every child is able to receive a free education. U.S. government data suggests that 40% of East Timorese are illiterate. Through increased education and enhanced literacy, the Global Education Initiative works to lift people out of poverty and improve opportunities for future generations.
THE BLACK KEYS, FOO FIGHTERS, AND NEIL YOUNG WITH CRAZY HORSE HEADLINE CONCERT TO RAISE AWARENESS AND INSPIRE ACTION ON GLOBAL POVERTY.
Dan Auerbach, lead singer of the Black Keys (photo credit: AP Photo/ Chris Pizzello)
In an effort to mobilize people on issues surrounding global poverty and bring them to the attention of global leaders meeting in New York, NY in late September, some of rock’s biggest acts are coming together and donating their time for a charity concert on September 29. For this concert, tickets are not sold, but rather auctioned off in a special lottery to those who acquire the most ‘points’ for charitable acts through the Global Citizen website. Points are eared through simple acts such as posting information on social media, donating money to charitable organizations, or signing a petition. The goal is to motivate fans to take 100,000 actions by September to encourage the world leaders meeting at the United Nations in New York that week to raise $500 million in practical solutions for ending global poverty.
“This concert and the associated campaign will give us the opportunity to ask these leaders to make practical and tangible monetary commitments to the world’s poor and to the achievement of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.”- Global Poverty Project’s organizer Hugh Evans
(Photo Source: Michael Hanson/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
We recently posted about the Reinventing the Toilet competition, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Well, the results are in and the winning toilet is a solar-powered model from researchers at the California Institute of Technology that converts waste into hydrogen and electricity. Though resembling a normal toilet above ground, it includes a tank below that separates liquid from solid. The liquid flows into a sun-powered electrochemical reactor that oxidizes the urine, killing microorganisms and is then filtered for reuse. The hydrogen from the waste is then captured and can be used as a gaseous fuel. Second place went to a team from the University of Loughborough in the UK for a toilet that converted feces into a type of charcoal. The University of Toronto took third place with their design, which focuses on sanitizing feces and urine to produce clean water and other resources. Special recognition was also given to a Swiss team for designing a toilet user interface. All projects are currently being presented at Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle. Improvements in sanitation will have major benefits for those living in poverty. It is estimated that food and water tainted with fecal matter causes 1.5 million child deaths per year. Improved sanitation also has economic benefits through increased productivity, reduced healthcare costs and the prevention of illness, disability and early death. According to foundation Co-chair, Bill Gates, a new-generation toilet would hopefully combine features and research from many of the contest submissions. Other projects that didn’t win awards still introduced better ways to empty latrines, user-centered designs for public toilet facilities and even the use of insects to help decomposition. Gates believes that new toilet advancements may be so successful that they transform sanitation in the developing world as well.
“Innovative solutions change people’s lives for the better. If we apply creative thinking to everyday challenges, such as dealing with human waste, we can fix some of the world’s toughest problems.”
- Bill Gates
(Photo Source: businessinsider.com)
The U.S. has sent a message to the world in the form of Hillary Clinton’s most recent trip to several African nations. Accompanied by a large delegation of business leaders from some of the biggest U.S. companies like Boeing, GE and Walmart, the Secretary of State continued on President Obama’s recent comments that the African continent could likely be the world’s next economic success story. U.S. companies don’t want to miss out on the massive economic opportunity in Africa because of a lack of funding or investment. The U.S. would also like to catch up with China in terms of investment, and benefit from the same economic relationships that have seen China pass the U.S. and become Africa’s largest trading partner. Africa is home to six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the last decade and are poised for an economic takeoff that some compare to China, 30 years ago.
“It just makes financial sense for any countries and their respective businesses to invest in Africa now. China’s current financial return on foreign investment is higher in the African continent than in any other developing regions.”
- Scott Firsing, South African Institute of International Affairs
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is holding a Hunger Summit today, on the last day of the Olympic Games, to discuss plans for reducing malnutrition throughout the world. “It’s really important that, while the eyes of the world are on Britain and we are going to put on this fantastic show for the Olympics, we remember people in other parts of the world who, far from being excited about the Olympics, are actually worried about their next meal and whether they are getting enough to eat.” 2.6 Million children are dying from hunger and malnutrition every year, and the UK is stepping up as a leader in reducing that number. “London’s legacy could be the biggest yet, if the world follows Britain’s lead and acts to help millions of the world’s neediest children.”
Photo Credit: China.org.cn
1 in 5 American jobs are supported by exports, and “at a time when Congress is dealing with fiscal constraint and sequestration, recognizing the potential for U.S. economic growth that exists in the developing world is key.” Creating a new base of consumers through aid and infrastructural development will strengthen the US economy as well as improve the quality of life for one billion people around the world. The Economic Growth and Development Act of 2012, introduced last week by Sen. Johnny Isakson in the Senate and by Reps. Steve Chabot and Russ Carnahan in the House, implements a plan to coordinate government and private funding “to improve the success of U.S. global development efforts.” Through the accomplishments of the post- WWII Marshall plan, and of aid packages to countries like Brazil and South Korea, history demonstrates that this type of economic stimulation will not only reduce poverty and hunger in those regions, but ensure job security and business growth for Americans.